Fernando Alonso: Why Schumacher battle in 2005 was ‘easier’ than Perez in Brazil

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso beats Michael Schumacher to the chequered flag at the 2005 San Marino GP.

Fernando Alonso holds off Michael Schumacher to win at Imola.

Holding off Michael Schumacher to win the 2005 San Marino GP, Fernando Alonso says back then it was easier to keep a rival at bay than it was in Brazil where he raced Sergio Perez.

Back in 2005 Formula 1 did not have DRS, which made passing more difficult that it can be today with the DRS overtaking aid.

That meant when Ferrari driver Schumacher closed in on Alonso’s rear wing at Imola, the reigning World Champion up against the young upstart in a head-to-head battle, Alonso came out victorious in a brilliantly judged drive.

Fernando Alonso concedes today’s DRS makes it easier for the second car

It was the first time the two had engaged in a proper battle in what was effectively a 10-plus lap fight for the victory.

Schumacher closed right in on the Renault driver’s rear wing and hounded him lap after lap only to fall 0.215s short of the win, Alonso scoring the maximum 10 points as he fought his way toward a first Drivers’ Championship title.

This past Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix saw another close finish for the now double World Champion as Alonso held off the Red Bull of Perez for close on 30 laps to take third place by 0.053s ahead of the Mexican driver.

With that tussle likened to his Schumacher battle from yesteryear, the Aston Martin driver was asked which of the two had been the easier contest.

“It was easier in 2005 because it was non-DRS. So that was probably easier,” he replied.

“Now with the DRS, it seems a little bit different and you have to play things a little bit differently as well. And tyre management is also very different than back then, where you can maybe push the tyre all the way.”

However, unlike in 2005, this year Alonso briefly found himself the trailing car in the fight after Perez overtook him into Turn 1 on the penultimate lap.

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But with the help of DRS, Alonso repassed him at Turn 4 on the final lap to seal third place.

“If in 2005 you lose the position, then it’s bye-bye, you cannot recover and here I had another chance,” he added.

“It has been introduced to provide a little bit better show and today is a good example of that because you get overtaken two laps from the end and then you have another chance, especially here in Brazil.

“We saw yesterday [in the Sprint] as well when there is an overtaking done into Turn 1, there is a possibility – a strong possibility – that into Turn 4 someone will get the position back.”

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